By Joe Cola
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- A Haitian press freedom watchdog, SOS Journalites, this weekend called on the Argentine government to take special measures to protect a suspect detained in Argentina under an international warrant issued in connection with the inquiry into the killing, on May 3, 2000, of Haitian journalist Jean Dominique.
In a communiqué released on May 3, 2014, SOS Journalistes called the Argentine government's attention to the need to provide very special protection to the detained suspect to avoid that he be killed, as have other key witnesses and co-accused in the murder of Jean Dominique.
The head of SOS Journalistes, Joseph Guyler C. Delva, expressed the concerns of the organization about "the safety of Markington Philippe, who is an extremely important element in the investigation into the assassination of Jean Dominique, as several other witnesses and alleged perpetrators of the crime have been eliminated, with the obvious purpose of avoiding overwhelming testimonies and to clear clues and evidence."
"Therefore, we call on the Argentine government to ensure that those who visit Markington Philippe or those who feed him are subject to strict control by relevant clearance entities to avoid that he be assassinated by those who would not want him to speak," explained Delva.
Markington Philippe, who seems to possess detailed information about the murder of the journalist, was detained at Haiti's National Penitentiary as ordered by investigating authorities. He managed to escape from prison during a mass breakout, which occurred at the penitentiary following the political events of February 2004 that led to the departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Markington Philippe, jailed in 2001, was first heard at the judge's office as a witness. However, the judge then decided to issue a committal order against him, because of the detailed information that he was providing and which suggested that he could have been on the scene of the crime or among the perpetrators.
Several credible sources told SOS Journalistes that Philippe came back to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, but he travelled back to Argentina without restriction.
"So, we urge the Haitian government to relay our concerns with Argentine authorities to ensure that all steps are taken to establish a real safety device around Markington Philippe to protect him in his cell while awaiting extradition to Haiti,"concluded Delva.
The journalists' rights advocacy group commended the Argentine government and the security forces in that country, who cooperated with Haitian authorities to arrest and detain Markington Philippe, charged in the murder of Dominique.
SOS Journalistes also saluted efforts by investigating Judge Yvickel Dabrésil and the Central Director of the Judicial Police (DCPJ), Inspector General Normil Rameau and his team who have done such an effective and valuable work to facilitate the arrest and detention of Markington Philippe.